Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 14, 2010 10:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

Yeah, when I talk about 'unique jams' I don't mention '73/74 much, simply because (esp. in '74) so many nights have unique unexpected jams....yet they're not 'themed' like earlier jams were, they're closer to pure improvisation, & so harder to pick apart & describe.

I don't think the 3/22/72 Caution is that great (they hadn't played it in a while, of course!) but I do love that ending. (I'm not so fond of the 6/18/74 It's A Sin as a jam wrap-up, but there you go....)

I believe the 9/21/72 Dark Star jam does have a pretty high status already! Actually (along with the end of the 4/8/72 Dark Star) it's an early version of the Mind Left Body theme....with a very different feel, of course. One thing about the MLB riff though, it could vary quite a bit from show to show, they didn't 'lock it down' as much as, say, Feelin' Groovy. But the end of the 3/23/72 Dark Star also comes to mind as unique - kind of a combination of Feelin' Groovy and Sugar Magnolia, so it's new yet familiar at the same time.

Anyway, back to '73/74, the jams have been described as a 'conversation' that the Dead continued from night to night. (Weir later thought that their '74 jams were becoming too inward, that the band was playing improvs just for themselves & losing the audience...) In terms of being more varied and random than the Dead's earlier jams, that era could be their improvisational high-water mark, since they don't lean on familiar themes as much as they did earlier. (Although I tend to prefer the energy & freshness of '72.)

Speaking of unique Dark Stars, 12/6/73 is as unique as they get.... It certainly divides listeners - there's a recent review of that show from someone who hated it!
"One of the worst Dark Stars I have ever heard...not really the song at all but just some space continues to go nowhere w/ Phil intermittently assaulting our ears w/ bass sustain and feedback. This is generally what musicians do when nothing else is really happening musically."
Personally I wish they'd done more like this....and they were certainly in that bass sustain/feedback groove in Dec '73, they did it in show after show, so it certainly wasn't from being musically bored!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 14, 2010 10:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

I'm in agreement on the 3/22/72 Caution. It's ok, but to me it is definitely the "worst" of the 72 Cautions (I've never been too big on the one from 3/18/71, either, it's more like one long good lovin-esque rap than the Cautions from 67-70 that we know and love). I can't really pick a favorite, but I'd say it's a tie between 4/8/72 and 5/11/72. And I didn't mean to say that the 3/22 post-Caution jam is "bad" or that I don't enjoy it, it is definitely very cool. I just remember reading a lot of hype about it before hearing it, and I guess I had too high of expectations or something, because while I enjoyed it, it just didn't quite feel like it met the expectations.

I think I mentioned earlier that I too feel that the MLBody-ish jam at the end of 9/21/72 reminds me of the late jam in 3/23/72's Dark Star. And yes, 4/8 has it's similarities.

You're so right about the MLB jams of 72-74. No two are really alike. Some are more calmer and soothing, others more rowdy, others very percussive, some faster, some slower,etc. Overall it's a theme that was played so many different ways so many different times, but every one is still recognizable, and as always, brings a smile. MLBJams for me are kindof like The Eleven. It's something that always had a really happy feel to it, both of them have a overall vibe of celebration to them. MLBJams always seemed to come out of those spells of "angry Dead" or the more frightening stuff and always feel very reassuring.

I am also in agreement about your feelings towards 72's jams souding "fresher" than 74's. While 72 lacks such faves as Eyes and Weather Report, which reached some real heights in 74, there is really nothing like the improv of a 72 Dark Star or Other One. When I look for that jazzy style of jamming, I tend to lean very heavily to 72 over the following 2 years myself. That said, I think they really were on a roll in 74, I think I *like* the fact that they may have turned more inward. That's how I like a band to play, more for themselves than for the crowd.

it is rather mindboggling how one could not like the 12/6/73 Star, but then again, you won't find as many opinions and polarization anywhere else like you find in the Deadhead crowd. I think I once heard someone refer to that Star as "backwards," as in it is almost like they took the typical framework they were using at the time and played it in reverse. I guess that is kindof true.

Anyway, I think I'm about done on this thread lol. LIA, man I'd sure love to meet you sometime and have these kind of discussions for hours. I feel like we could probably talk for days. Recently I had said on here how I have been faithfuly reading ever since the GD section was added to the LMA, but that I never posted much. I have always loved your posts, ie the ones where you break down the evolution of a certain song, break down every show in a certain period (like the recent breakdown of April 1970). That's exactly the kind of stuff I do in my head or when talking to friends, but am too scatterbrained to sit down and type out. But I'm starting to get a little more involved in this forum and posting more, so maybe that will change slightly. At any rate, I appreciate those who do take the time to make such critiques and I enjoy chiming in on them. Good stuff.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 15, 2010 12:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

You probably saw this essay on the 12/6/73 Dark Star - led to some interesting discussion:
The author points out how December '73 was a particular vortex for Noisy Phil, really getting into the feedback screeches. (Didn't that fall off somewhat after Ned joined with his Seastones section in late June '74, so Phil got it out of his system there?) 12-2-73 could be my favorite example of the MLB jam coming as soothing relief after some hair-raising chaos.

Anyway, I usually give up posting to threads once they fall off the bottom of the page! Who's still reading anyway? But the Archive discussion always continues...